Wednesday, April 20, 2011

II. Cardiovascular diseases - A. Atherosclerosis

Cardiovascular disease or hear diseases are the class of diseases that involve disorder of the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins),including coronary heart disease (heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), raised blood pressure (hypertension), peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and heart failure. Cardiovascular disease kills more than 2,000 Americans everyday and approximately 60 million Americans have heart disease.
A. Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is defined as a condition in which fatty material accumulated along the walls of arteries, leading to thickening or hardening of arterial walls result in blockage eventual of the arteries
1. Symptoms
a. Leg cramps during walking
Leg cramps during exercise might be caused by dehydration. It is important to drink a lot of fluid during exercise. Leg cramps occur when the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts. The most common muscles to contract in this manner are muscles that cross two joints. Leg cramps during walking might be an indication of heart disease caused by arteries in your leg being clogged up by cholesterol in result of not enough oxygen being delivered to the cells in your leg. If this symptom persists, please consult with your doctor.

b. Chest pain
Chest pain is caused by blood vessels in the heart temporarily being blocked up. It is also caused by inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle or coronary . The persistence of chest pain would be an early indication of heart diseases.

c. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is the major symptom of the left ventricular insufficiency. People with shortness of breath are four times more likely to die from a heart disease related cause than individuals without any symptoms.

d. Headaches
People see sparkling zigzag lines or loss of vision before a migraine attack may be at particular risk of future cardiovascular problems. Generally headaches do not cause heart diseases but a sudden, explosive onset of great pain might be.

f. Dizziness
Dizziness can have many causes including low blood count, low iron in the blood stream and other blood disorders, dehydration, and viral illnesses. Since there are many different conditions that can produce these symptoms, anybody experiencing episodes of severe headaches or dizziness ought to be checked by your doctor.

g. Palpitations
Palpitations is an extremely common symptom of heart disease. Palpitations are skips in the heart beats and irregular heart beats.

h. Loss of consciousness
It is a common symptom, most people pass out at least once in their lives. However, sometimes loss of consciousness indicates a dangerous or even life-threatening condition such as heart disease so when loss of consciousness occurs it is important to figure out the cause.

g. Etc.

2. Risk factors
a. Diabetes
b. Dyslipoproteinemia (unhealthy patterns of serum proteins carrying fats & cholesterol)
c. High serum concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
d. Low serum concentration of functioning high density lipoprotein (HDL)
e. An LDL:HDL ratio greater than 3:1
f. Tobacco smoking, increases risk by 200% after several pack years
g. Hypertension
h. Elevated serum C-reactive protein concentrations
i. Vitamin B6 deficiency
j. Heredity
k. Obesity
l. Age
m. Etc.

3. Free radicals and Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis develops as a result of oxidation of low-density lipoprotein molecules (LDL) or bad cholesterol by free radicals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS). As the oxidated LDL move in the blood stream and comes to contact and damage the arterial wall, the immune immune system by sending specialized white blood cells (macrophages and T-lymphocytes) to absorb the oxidized-LDL forming specialized foam cells. If the white blood cells can not process the oxidized-LDL, they ultimately grow then rupture thus depositing a greater amount of oxidized cholesterol into the artery wall that triggers more white blood cells, continuing the cycle. If the artery becomes inflamed, it causes cholesterol plaque buildup over the affected area, leading to narrowing of the artery that reduces the blood flow and increases blood pressure.

4. Antioxidants and Atherosclerosis
a. Bioflavonoids or vitamin P
Discovered by Szent-Gyorgyi and his colleagues back in the 1930`s. In Laboratory tests, B
bioflavonoids help to reduce the fragility and “permeability” in capillaries and prevent the clotting up of arterial as a result of oxidation.

b. Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene
Recent research findings have suggested that antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and beta carotene play an important role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Data from animal studies showed they are able to prevent oxidative modification of low density lipoproteins (LDL).

c. Alpha-tocopherol
Alpha-tocopherol, a antioxidant found abundant in vitamin E, helps to decrease lipid peroxidation and platelet aggregation, adhesion and inflammatory. Epidemiological studies suggest that low levels of antioxidants are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

d. Vitamin C and E
Studies showed in take of 500mg of vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E helps to retard the progression of coronary atherosclersis.

e. Chlorophyl
Antioxidant chorophyll in the green algae shows to inhibit the chemical cadmium of smoking, by preventing from oxidation that cause building up of plaque along the walls of arteries.

f. Etc.